#3 Buck Shot Explained

#3 buck shot gives you around 20 pellets in the average shot shell, and offers an effective range of over 30 yards or so if you’ve patterned these shells and adjusted your choke accordingly. The #3 is sold mainly as ammunition for deer but has a very good reputation for large game birds, predators and home defense.

The #3 Buck size of shot gives you a nice balance if you find the #2 Buck a little too big and prefer a bit more range and punch than #4 Buck. The 3” shell of #3 buck can give you 24 or so pellets depending on the manufacturer.  The type of shotgun you’re using can really influence performance with this type of ammo, so patterning is important. Generally, a 20 gauge shotgun is considered the most popular firearm to use with this size round.


Hunting UseShot Pellet Sizes

Shotgun hunting has a long history all across the world and offers several advantages for hunting in the right conditions. Primarily the shotgun, is a more versatile option for heavily wooded areas where a rifle may have issues penetrating thick brush due to deflection. You could use a slug for hunting in brush, but many opt instead for the #3 buck.

This size is also popular among goose hunters but only in areas where lead shot is still allowed. If not, just hop over the the #3 steel shot or a plated buckshot. Depending on where you live and the average size of what you’re hunting, #3 buck can be effective on its own or with the assistance of a good dog or two.

Farm and Ranch Use

The #3 buck shot offers you great range combined with excellent spread at long range. A great use of  this shot is predator control, many coyotes have fallen to this powerful load.  The #3 can be a little large for critters like rabbits and gophers however, in this situation you may be better off with a birdshot or a rifle instead, especially if they can see you coming a mile away.

Home Defense

For home defense, the #3 buck shot is just fine. It offers you a lot of power, penetration and enough pellets to really make an impact on an intruder inside your home or approaching at a distance. Any of the buckshots are good for home defense actually but the larger the pellet, the higher the risk of punching right through a wall or two causing injuries and damage. The #3 is a good middle of the road pellet size and you can select whatever length shell you’re most comfortable with.

Overall, the #3 is very versatile for any kind of shotgun application.  Make sure lead is allowed where you plan to go hunting or shooting and if it’s not, simply pick up the #3 steel shot instead. It’s the same size though you’ll lose a bit of penetration at longer ranges.